Student Projects

Introduction

Mercer medical students at the Columbus, Macon and Savannah campuses have been busy implementing service learning projects throughout their communities. Students have worked with local community organizations to plan and implement sustainable projects as part of the DISC Program (Distinction in Service to the Community). Through their hard work and dedication, students are making their community a better place, developing valuable leadership skills, and building relations through their various volunteer projects. Student projects are as diverse as the communities they serve. Below are some examples of the projects that are currently in the community at the three campuses.

Macon Campus, Primary Care Bears
Members: Christopher Ballantyne, Leslie Hilding, Zach Skipper, Jojo Smith

First Choice Primary Care is a local clinic providing healthcare needs specifically to Macon's indigent population. The patient population primarily is comprised of uninsured individuals. The purpose of our project is to facilitate FCPC with patient education. With each patient, we will educate them on using the portal system to facilitate personal healthcare autonomy. We will emphasize the importance of continuity of care and the necessity for communication with their healthcare provider. We also will provide individualized and specific patient education tailored to each patient's needs.

Macon Campus, Mentoring in Healthcare
Members: Devon Tobey and Nick Morrow

Our goal is to address healthcare disparities in the Macon community by increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce. Our mission is to increase the number of underrepresented health professionals through mentoring, career exposure, and leadership development in elementary and middle school.

Savannah Campus, SHAPE Savannah
Members: Ekta Bery, Ben Long,
Sheritta Carmichael

Science and Health Academic Preparation for higher Education in Savannah (SHAPE Savannah) is a program designed to create a mutually beneficial relationship between medical students at Mercer University School of Medicine and elementary school students in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS). The program enables medical students to connect to the children in the community via instructional lessons in science and health. These lessons are presented either independently by the medical students or presented by the teacher with support from the medical students during instructional time. The goal of SHAPE Savannah is to help strengthen science skills and encourage a greater emphasis on science topics amongst students in preparation for higher education.

Savannah Campus, Strides for Savannah
Members: Austin Rogers, Danielle Mankin, Bradley Newton

Many underprivileged individuals in the Savannah area suffer from numerous health problems, and a significant number of these issues relate to the musculoskeletal system.The obese commonly deal with knee, hip, and back pain, while those with diabetes very often develop foot ulcers and other problems.Many of these people also cannot afford comfortable fitted shoes, and typically wear old, used, and ill-fitting footwear.We believe these two issues are related, and that many low-income patients with these chronic issues would benefit greatly from wearing appropriate shoes. Many retailers typically have a supply of very lightly-used shoes that have been returned.These shoes cannot be resold, and are often thrown away or donated internationally.It is our intention to redirect this supply of good shoes to the needy in our community by identifying the patients who could benefit, obtaining measurements, and connecting them with appropriate footwear.

Macon Campus, MedScouts
Member: Chelsea Fetcher

MedScouts is a series of interactive workshop for girls in grades 2-12 in partnership with Girl Scouts of Historic GA. The workshop aims to connect young girls with students of MUSM in an effort to earn the First Aid badge while getting a hands-on learning experience in medicine. Girls will learn how to address basic first aid issues, create a first aid kit and gain the knowledge of how to use it, learn how to take care of a sick family member, and talk with medical personnel. Additionally, girls will learn basic anatomy and how common medical instruments are used, and if they "pass the test" they can practice on a volunteer designated standardized patient! Whether it's earning a badge, learning about preventative care or gaining health empowerment, MedScouts is a place that girls can become stewards of health for themselves and those around them.

Macon Campus, Preventative Medicine Action Group
Members:
George Teaford, Matthew Varn, Matthew Warren, Jake Kirkpatrick

Taking control of one's own health is imperative for living a long and fruitful life. We believe that

those who visit local farmers markets have already taken the first steps in leading a healthier lifestyle and would be more willing to participate in our health screenings. Mulberry Street Farmer's Market is located in downtown Macon and serves as a place where farmers can sell their produce directly to the consumer. Given its location, the farmers market also serves to counteract the local food desert found in the downtown region, allowing populations from all walks of life to have access to fresh and healthy food. This creates an ideal environment where we can target populations from all socioeconomic statuses (e.g., farmers from rural settings, residents from the downtown district, and people who work in the downtown commercial district). Given the alarming statistics of heart disease we feel as though anyone would benefit from a free blood pressure screening, especially those who will be attending the market.

Macon Campus, Mercer Partners in Health
Members: Kristen Corcoran and Jen Anhut

The Bibb County Health Department is a vital resource for much of the Macon and Middle Georgia community, and we feel it is important for MUSM students to be involved in its goal of constantly improving the care it provides to its patrons. Our project seeks to establish a working relationship between MUSM students and the Bibb County Health Department in order to assist the staff in providing resources for members of the community.Currently, a major need of the health department is an increase in clinic efficiency, from check-in until departure.By teaming up with staff at the health department, physicians in the Macon area, and fellow Mercer students, we are working to make each patient's visit to the health department a more efficient and pleasant experience.While this is the focus for our project, we have become aware of other needs that can be filled with volunteer participation, and we hope to encourage other students to get involved with fulfilling those roles and partnering with the Bibb County Health Department.

Macon Campus, A Day in the Life of a Medical Student
Members: Nyomi Washington, Jennifer Onyirimba Joseph Kinuthia

The purpose of our project is to organize, plan, and coordinate sessions where grades 7-8 students will spend 3 hours touring the Mercer School of Medicine facilities, participating in mock classes in the tutor rooms, discussing the different medical professions, experiences what it takes to become a doctor, and the roles and responsibilities of a doctor. Ultimately, we hope to cultivate an interest in pursuing a medical career in underprivileged middle school students within the Macon community.

Columbus Campus: Columbus Healthy Live Initiative
Member: Aarti Dugal

The Mercer-­-Mercy Med Healthy Lives Initiative is a program intended to encourage active, healthy lifestyles in a population plagued by preventable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Our project aims to deliver fresh, healthy fruits, vegetables, poultry, and eggs to members of our Initiative, and these items are supplied by local, Columbus-­?area farmers. We also aim to teach our members the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise by offering bimonthly exercise programs by the Chattahoochee River in Downtown Columbus as well as bimonthly seminars on the benefits of healthy eating. In addition to this, we will give talks on preventative medicine, with a focus on diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and coronary artery disease. Our goal with these talks is to educate our members on the dangers of such maladies and offer guidance on how to prevent or deter these diseases.